Meet the 2018 Sustainability Researchers!

November 4, 2018

The Colby Sustainability Office works with 6 driven Colby students interested in and passionate about improving Colby in areas of: energy, transportation, land, sites, resource use, and communications. Learn more about their work, interests, and Colby lives below!

Communications | Cindy Nguyen ’20

My name is Cindy Nguyen, and I am a junior studying Environmental Policy. Originally from the Seattle area, I have come to consider Maine (and its wonderful landscapes!) my second home. Currently, I work as the Communications Researcher curating and developing content, maintaining the social media accounts, and promoting the work of the Sustainability Office and other eco-organizations (both student and academic) on campus. Through this work, I hope to learn how to effectively and articulately disseminate environmental information across a wide range of demographics on campus.

At Colby, I have developed a passion for environmental and indigenous justice. I am a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar (DDCSP) at Northern Arizona University – a program focused on diversifying and ensuring equity within conservation. Through DDCSP, I spent this past summer exploring conservation issues and challenges on the Colorado Plateau; through this experience, I got to further explore my interests in environmental justice, spend time with tribal organizations and individuals, and experience the beautiful Southwest!

Outside of the classroom, I am involved in the performing arts (Powder and Wig, Colby Theater and Dance, Colby Symphony Orchestra, and Broadway Musical Revue!). I am also the Publicity Chair of Asian Students Association. On any given day, you will likely find me chowing down or sipping tea in Foss! I am excited to establish the Sustainability Office’s “brand” as well as create interesting, attention-grabbing content that shows all the hard work of the Office and its researchers!

Energy | Elli Mapstone ’19

Hi! My name is Elli Mapstone and I am a senior Environmental Policy major. I am currently the energy research assistant and am focusing on LEED at Colby. I am currently working on a project to create a comprehensive document outlining guidelines for LEED projects at Colby.

My primary environmental interests revolve around renewable energy and food. This past summer I interned for the Boston Public Market, a non-profit that is the nation’s only year-round, all-local, indoor farmers market. I got to work on a variety of projects in the office including implementing a composting program, reviewing market energy use, and teaching kids of Boston about the importance of eating local and healthy food!

At Colby I am also a COOT leader, a volunteer for “Food for Thought” where we help out in the Alfond Youth Center greenhouse, a member of the Academic Honesty committee, and a student library assistant in Olin. A fun fact about me is that I can tap dance!

As someone who is passionate about sustainability and helping Colby become a greener campus, I am really excited about being an Energy Research Assistant with the Office of Sustainability this year!

General Research | McGara Dewan ’19

I am a current Senior at Colby with a major in Environmental Policy and a minor in Managerial Economics. On campus I am on the Women’s Varsity Lacrosse Team, a Senior Fellow in the Admissions Office, a volunteer at the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, a member of the SGA Class Council. I have been a research assistant in the Sustainability Office since my freshman year. I have worked on various projects including LEED Certification for buildings on campus and improving Colby’s STARS Energy Verification rating. My most recent project is a Green Athletics Program for Colby’s Varsity Teams and the new Athletic Center. We are working to help each team and increase sustainability and efficiency, and learn how to be an advocate for sustainability. My main interests are energy and sustainable development, and working as a research assistant has helped me explore these areas further, and have fantastic hands-on experience. 

Land and Ecosystem Services | Katie Cole ’20

My name is Katie and I am the Land researcher for the Office of Sustainability. Here at Colby I am a Junior Environmental Science Major with a concentration in Conservation Biology. I am a huge plant nerd and, as well as this research position, I also have a job in the Olin greenhouse. I am passionate about protecting the environment and have a strong interest in forest ecology and restoration. Part of my research is quantifying the ecosystem services of the trees on campus which is great because I am helping to make Colby more sustainable while researching something that I love. I spent my Sophomore Jan Plan on Kauai doing native forest restoration and invasive plant removal. This was an incredible experience and it was my first time doing work in the field I want to go into after graduation. This past summer I did trail work in Alaska with the Student Conservation Association. I learned a lot about building sustainable trails as well as living sustainably in a low waste environment. I am thrilled to be doing this research and helping to enhance Colby’s commitment to sustainability.

Resources | Jackie Florman ’22

I am the Resources Researcher for the Office of Sustainability and I work primarily on Colby’s sustainable purchasing and waste disposal programs. I am a first year student from Los Angeles, California who will be majoring in Environmental Policy and Global Studies. I am primarily interested in environmental justice related issues, especially the effects of air and water pollution on the health of vulnerable communities. I worked at the Natural Resources Defense Council over this past summer, interning with the Healthy People and Thriving Communities Program, primarily working on port sustainability measures in Los Angeles. I also love hiking, backpacking, and being outside, and you can usually find me in the arb or climbing a mountain!

Transportation | Danya Smith ’20

I am a junior pursuing an independent major in Urban Studies with a Cultural Geography concentration. Originally from Lynn, Massachusetts, I ventured three hours away from home to study how people or culture intersects with place. After Colby, I hope to pursue graduate school in urban planning or urban policy. I am extremely interested in sustainability efforts that cities around the world are taking. I help out with transportation related research for the Office of Sustainability such as analyzing data from Colby’s iBikes, Jitney, and shuttle to improve efficiency. In addition to working for the Office of Sustainability, I manage artful community development projects in Waterville with the Colby Urban Design Co-Op, write about issues facing urban areas in the Domestic Affairs section of Outside Colby, and serve on the Environmental Humanities Student Advisory Board. Some of my favorite things to do are: hanging out with Colby friends, watching Coen Brothers’ films, playing music on WMHB 89.7, and reading non-fiction books.


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